Ever since Michael and I began eating nuts and berries earlier this year (well, ok, not the berries so much since they have sugar), we've had a lot of tree nuts. A LOT of tree nuts. Mostly almonds, but occasionally we have walnuts or hazelnuts or what have you. They're great for a little snack and a much better choice than the (preferred) chips or sugary snacks I've spent a lifetime loving.
Well, this is all fine and good until you throw our child in the mix.
Kids. Don't they always complicate everything?
Our oldest child is allergic to tree nuts. Not peanuts, not peanut butter, not anything with peanut oil, etc. JUST tree nuts. We have learned this the hard way. When she tastes even a morsel of something with a tree nut in it, her lips swell and her mouth starts itching (I'm not sure how a mouth itches, but whatever. I believe her.). If there's no medicine around, watch out. She's about to be sick (we've learned this the hard way, too).
Obviously we try to be pretty vigilant about keeping her away from these pesky nuts. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans...I've received quite an education on which nuts grow on trees and which come out of the ground.
Even in our vigilance, sometimes a nut sneaks under the radar.
This happened recently at a rather inconvenient time.
There we were, happily shopping as a little family, making our way through one of our favorite stores, Costco.
If you've ever been to Costco, you know that you can just about eat an entire meal on their sample stations alone if you time it right. Our kids LOVE it there. Every 5 feet there is another little old lady handing out chicken nuggets or brownie bites or fancy cheese or bite size veggie burgers.
While we're on this subject, I must warn you to NEVER, I repeat, NEVER try the coconut water samples. Disgusting. Even the employee handing it out had a grossed out look on his face when I took a sip. I seriously considered spitting it out on the floor but my pride got in the way.
Anyway, we had sadly missed the window of opportunity for the glorious samples feast. The girls were, shall we say, slightly miffed at their irresponsible, bad time managing parents. So, as a consulation prize, we offered to go to the bakery section and get them a giant, Costco sized free cookie.
We headed in that general direction as my very responsible eldest child peppered me with questions regarding the cookie.
"Will it have tree nuts in it?"
"No, babe, there are lots of people who can't have nuts. I'm sure they just stick with chocolate chip or something like that."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. But if it makes you feel better, I'll look at it before you eat it, okay?"
Things were a bit different this time. Instead of the usual chocolate chip or sugar cookie or oatmeal raisin option, today the cookies were WHITE chocolate chip.
The child inspected her cookie with eagle eyes, searching intently for signs of nut invasion. I smelled the cookie, wished I could HAVE the cookie, and handed it back, satisfied that it was safe for her to eat.
"Mom, are you SURE?"
"Yep. You're good. Go ahead."
"Mom, are you POSITIVE?"
"Yes, Olivia. I wouldn't give it to you if it weren't safe."
And so, she and her sisters enjoyed their huge cookies as hubby and I moved on to different items on our list.
"Mom! My mouth is itching!"
I looked at my daughter. She was sticking out her tongue and trying to scratch it. Her lips were the color of a lady of the night. She was not a happy camper.
She looked at me as if I had intentionally tried to bring about her demise. I could've been the mascot for "BAD MOTHER" day. She seemed to be mentally clearing her schedule for therapy sessions all about how she suffered under the hand of a neglectful, irresponsible mother.
I checked my purse. Hmm. Fresh out of Benadryl. Hubby and I looked at one another, silently acknowledged it was time to implement our emergency plan, and headed off. He half carried, half dragged the 8-yr-old to the medicine section of Costco.
There it was, gleaming like a gift from God, a bottle of Benadryl. And not just any bottle, a humongous container of the stuff. We could've relieved the itchy mouths of a small country with this 2-pack of red liquid salvation.
They hurried through the check-out line and Michael administered the dose. Immediate relief.
They made their way back to us, where I was managing the younger girls and they were fighting over who got to eat the rest of Olivia's huge cookie.
She was still mad at me.
In my defense, I will essentially throw other responsible adults under the bus. Both of Olivia's dear grandmothers have been guilty of serving a minor tree nuts. Nutella (hazelnut peanut butter), dates, and cookies with pecans. She's forgiven them (I think). Why not me?